Burke Badenhop

Rays acquire reliever Burke Badenhop from Marlins


Now this is more like what we’re used to seeing from the Marlins: cutting corners by giving away a perfectly useful arbitration-eligible player.

The Rays on Monday picked up right-hander Burke Badenhop from Miami for minor league catcher Jake Jefferies.

It’s a nice get for Tamps Bay. Badenhop’s ERA has climbed slightly, going from 3.75 in 72 innings in 2009 to 3.99 in 67 2/3 innings to 4.10 in 63 2/3 innings last season. However, he finished with the best peripherals of his career in 2011, ending the year with a 51/24 K/BB ratio and just one homer allowed.

Badenhop is a strong groundball pitcher with an 87-91 mph sinker, a quality slider and a below average changeup. It’s not a package that makes him an elite reliever, but as the fourth right-hander in a pen and a guy who can go two innings at a time whenever necessary, he has value. He’s due about $1.4 million in arbitration, and he’ll be eligible for free agency after 2014.

In return for Badenhop, the Marlins receive the 24-year-old Jefferies, a 2008 third-round pick who has failed to develop offensively. He’s come in at .215/.290/275 and .235/.281/.333 in his two years in high-A ball, so he’s a big long shot to ever reach the majors.

Badenhop had been the last Marlin left from the deal that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit in Dec. 2007. The Marlins also acquired Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Dallas Trahern, Eulogio De La Cruz and Mike Rabelo in the trade.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.